Is it time for a repipe in your home? Repiping your home can sometimes be the best and only solution to your plumbing leak. A full home repipe can seem like a daunting task, and while it can be disruptive to your relaxing home life, it doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. Trusting a repiping specialist to repipe the water lines in your home can make all the difference in the world when it comes to the end result and your experience during the process.
Things to ask if you’re choosing to repipe your home
- Are you licensed, bonded and insured?
- How long have you been in business?
- What kind of pipe will you be replacing my plumbing with?
- What kind of fittings will you use?
- Will you be putting up plastic to protect my personal property?
- Will you be replacing the valves and supply lines at each fixture?
- How long will the project take?
- Will you clean up all of your trash and haul it away?
Are you Licensed, bonded and Insured?
This is a big question to ask whenever you’re having anyone do work at your home. You’d be surprised how often we go out and fix work that unlicensed companies perform. A licensed company has to pass extensive exams proving they are qualified to do the work. Licensed contractors also have to pass background checks and must be bonded and insured to maintain and keep their license. You don’t want to trust just anyone in your home, it is your castle, make sure it is being taken care of by those that are qualified. Want to know some of the other important differences between licensed and unlicensed companies? Check out our quick blog that explains more.
How long have you been in business?
Asking a plumbing company how long they have been in business doesn’t always tell you if they are a great and reliable plumber but it can give you an indication of the longevity of the company and help you to feel more secure that they will still be around for years to come. The statistics of companies that go out of business within the first five years is staggering in any profession and plumbing is not excluded from this statistic. Many plumbers think they can go into business for themselves and make more money, they soon find that it is very different to be an owner operator and just an operator and many of these people are forced to close up shop and that leaves you, the client, with no warranty on your repipe.
What kind of pipe will you use?
The type of pipe chosen by the contractor can make a big impact on the price of your repipe. For example, a copper repipe is often twice the cost due to increased material cost and labor costs than a repipe done in plastic. If you have polybutylene piping you may be resistant to replacing it with another type of plastic after of the headaches you’ve likely experienced but there are plastic pipes on the market that hold up to Phoenix’s chlorinated water. Polybutylene isn’t bad pipe, it isn’t legal to use in the United States but it is acceptable in other countries. Copper can be a great choice when choosing to repipe your home, it has a long history of reliability and we still give the option for copper repipes though PEX Repipes are the most popular type of repipe. PEX pipe also has a long history of reliability and is a fraction of the cost of copper. PEX repipes are also less costly on labor because of the flexibility of PEX piping. There are several manufacturers of PEX “A” piping (the type of pipe used for domestic water lines) the 3 largest manufacturers and most common in Phoenix are Uponer, Zurn and Apollo. PEX piping is the most common pipe used in Phoenix for repipes due to its cost, ease of installation and its history of reliability. Another pipe that may be offered to you, and while is up to plumbing code, we do not recommend it is CPVC. CPVC is a ridged type of plastic pipe similar to PVC, but it is rated for hot water use. With more than 20 years in this profession we have seen and repaired a lot of CPVC in the Phoenix area and the pipe, overtime gets brittle and becomes very difficult to repair. We have a joke around here that we don’t even look at CPVC pipe because it could crack from our glare.
What kind of fittings will you use?
If you have a copper repipe there are two options for fittings, there are the standard fittings that are soldered in by a plumbing professional and there are also pro press fittings that are solder free and are crimped in place. Either of these options is fine, though most companies, like Robins Plumbing choose to solder fittings in due to the increased material cost of pro press fittings and the expense of the specialty tool. Pro Press fittings are more than 5 times the cost of a standard fitting and the cost of the tool is thousands of dollars.
PEX piping fittings are all basically the same but do have to be brand specific to the pipe to maintain the manufacturers warranty. A qualified licensed plumber like Robins Plumbing should know this fact and you shouldn’t have anything to worry about, however, it doesn’t hurt to ask and protect yourself and your home.
SharkBite fittings are push on fittings that can be used on multiple types of pipe and in our professional opinion are not the best route to go for a repipe. Sharkbite fittings are very common for DIY repairs due to their simple use and require no special tools or soldering, however, we have replaced many of them due to them leaking and we have also found that they don’t always hold up the best in the Phoenix heat. Your attic is insanely hot during the summer and can reach temps over 180 degrees. It is also our professional opinion that repair fittings meant for the DIY project should not be used by a licensed professional.
Will you protect my personal property with plastic and tarps?
A plumbing repipe is a messy project. Drywall is cut in multiple places, there is drywall dust, dirt and plumbers everywhere. Dirt and debris are unavoidable during a repipe but that doesn’t mean you should have to worry about your personal property being destroyed. At Robins Plumbing our team takes pride in creating what we jokingly call kill rooms. If you’ve watched Dexter you know what a kill room is, if you haven’t, it is when a room gets completely taped off with plastic creating a sealed space so that blood splatter (plumbing debris) can’t get on your personal effects like furniture. Not all companies take this much pride in the preparation of your home and protecting your space. Our policy is to begin with the end in mind which means a few extra hours in the beginning properly preparing the project will not only save your furnishings but will also save our team a lot of cleanup headache at the end.
Will you be replacing the valves and supply lines at each fixture included in the cost of the repipe?
If your home is being repiped we highly recommend that the shutoff valves, known as angle stops and supply lines are replaced at the same time. Connecting old angle stops and supply lines back up to the new pipe is a disaster waiting to happen. Angle stops and supply lines are one of the leading causes of floods in Phoenix, and we want to make sure that your home is protected. Many companies do not include this service with their repipes, they offer to sell them to you at extra fee once the project has started. We include quarter turn angle stops and new braided stainless steel supply lines at every fixture we replace the water line to during a repipe.
How long will the project take?
A repipe can vary in length of time based on how many team members are on the project as well as the size of your home. Whether you have one story or two story plays a role in the length of time as well as if you have attic access or a flat roof. There are a lot of variables when it comes to time but it is my personal and professional opinion that it is always best to get an idea of how long the project should take so that you can plan accordingly. The average time spent on a complete repipe of a home in Phoenix is usually 2-3 days but can go up based on some of the factors I listed. During the hottest parts of the Phoenix summer, the project may take a day longer due to the limited time that can be spent in the attic space. While our team gets started early in the summer months, your attic can easily get up over 160 degrees in the summer by 12 pm making the attic unsafe to occupy. We often recommend a staycation to our clients during a repipe. Why not stay in a hotel and be pampered while your house is getting a repipe? A staycation is a great way to avoid being in a construction zone and pamper yourself in the process of pampering your home.
Will you clean up all of the trash and debris and haul it away as part of the cost of the repipe?
This can seem like an incredibly silly question, of course, the company is going to clean up after themselves. Not true. I’ve heard many horror stories from clients who had used other plumbing companies in the past and they spent days cleaning up after them. They had to throw away the crews personal garbage like Gatorade bottles and throw away the drywall pieces and clean up all of their furnishings. It is insane to me how little some companies do for their clients. This recently happened to me with a pool remodel. I was told at the beginning that they would clean up their mess, in fact, they left me with two days’ worth of clean up and destroyed a lot of my backyard and landscaping. We always clean up the project when we are complete and haul away the debris, that is providing a Higher Level of Service.